Introducing Totême:
Continental Cool from Elin Kling and Karl Lindman

“A Swede living in New York and dreaming of the South of France.” That’s how editor and blogger Elin Kling describes the first collection from Totême, the clothing line she has created with her fiancé and business partner Karl Lindman. Both are natives of Sweden now living in New York. As for visions of Biarritz or Toulon, they are among the inspirations for the lightweight cashmere sweaters, piqué shirts and dresses, linen trousers, silk tanks, and signature beach towel that comprise Totême’s debut.

“The travel aspect is very important for Totême, as it stands for exploration, freedom, and time away from work and commitments,” says Lindman, an art director, who points to vacation-ready pieces named for seaside resorts and bustling cities from Montauk to Stockholm. The influence of the latter can be felt throughout the collection, which is grounded in seasonless neutrals and accented with red-orange and racing green. The goal was a “clean and crisp” palette, says Kling. “We strive to combine a certain Scandinavian element with a more refined, continental approach.”

“We believe that luxury is all about time and leisure,” says Karl Lindman, pictured here with Totême co-founder Elin Kling. The casual yet refined debut collection is “about longing for that vacation you so rarely take,” she notes.

In deciding on the name of the line, Kling and Lindman began with the idea of a totem—“a symbol that connects a group of people,” he explains—and gave it a European accent. Their Art Deco-inflected logo appears discreetly in tonal embroidery on each piece except for the navy and white beach towel, on which it is enlarged to become a geometric abstraction. “The towel logo pattern is a way for us to brand ourselves in a subtle way,” notes Lindman.

“Totême is both timeless and very modern, and we like this balance of simplicity and refinement. Personally, I have been looking for the right time and idea to build my own line. Karl and I now both feel that we have the experience and competence to create something great. It also helps that we really like working together.”

Elin Kling

Kling selected materials such as silk, linen, and cashmere to give the pieces “a refined yet casual luxury.” It’s an aesthetic she also refers to as “European preppy”—more Helmut Newton than Bruce Weber. In developing the silhouettes, Kling was determined not to mirror her personal style but to challenge it. “It is a step out of my comfort zone,” she says. “And that is exactly where I wish to be.”

Sportswear, European vacation resorts, and the 1970s were among the inspirations for Totême.
Kling created the Antwerp dress in a smooth-draping viscose blend that is ideal for travel. The Montauk shirt, a pure linen button-up, shares the beachy, relaxed charm of its namesake.

“We put a lot of thought into the woman who is wearing Totême. It is important that the collection is adapted to her life regardless of where she is situated. The pieces share a modern, refined sense of luxury that inspire her to slow down and enjoy life.”

Karl Lindman
Named for the famed seaside resort on the south coast of England, the seasonless Brighton v-neck is made from pure cashmere. A head-to-toe black linen look combines the Montauk shirt with the mid-waist silhouette of the Mayfair pants.

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Explore a similar chapter in The Stories:
Scandinavian Design: Uniting Beauty and Function